I just came upon an excellent quote from Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, PhD in an article, but I can't find the original source. Pacholczyk says, like I have been saying on this blog, that procreation includes not just fertilization but “the entire act of marital self-giving with its attendant pregnancy, leading up to and culminating in the birth of a child.”
Right! I need to read more from Fr. Pacholczyk. This is the first time I have heard anyone other than myself contradict the currently popular belief that procreation (conception, the creation of life) occurs specifically at the scientifically definable event called "fertilization."
If anyone can tell me where this quote comes from, or can point me to the best writings of Pacholczyk, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
In her post, How close can we get, Rebecca Mayes writes:
How can we be certain that our efforts to create a family will be pleasing to our Lord?
The book of Genesis spells it out very clearly as Moses reveals how the first family came about. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh,” (2:24). Marriage came first. Then, in chapter 4:1: “Adam knew Eve his wife,” (sexual intimacy) “and she conceived,” (conception) “and bore Cain…” (birth). There you have it—the four-fold process created by God for becoming a biological family. This is how it was meant to be. Couples who are able to have children in this way need never doubt whether they are acting in accordance with God’s will.Well said, Rebecca! Again, I assert my contention that "conception" (procreation, the creation of new life) is a process that begins with the one-flesh union and extends all the way through birth, and that we have no business interfering with God's procreative purpose at any point along the way. "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
Regarding the question of when a human soul comes into existence and the distinction between "contraceptives" and "abortifacient birth control" discussed in recent posts, I found the following Roman Catholic support for my contention that the Church (and Scripture) has previously been silent on the question of exactly when a soul is created. Indeed, the Roman Catholic Church appears to favor my argument that we simply do not know how or when a soul comes into existence. Nevertheless, they (and I) affirm that our moral judgment against birth control (abortifacient or otherwise) remains independent of any such answer. Procreation is a process we have no business interfering with.
Statement 7: In the course of history, the Fathers of the Church, her Pastors and her Doctors have taught the same doctrine - the various opinions on the infusion of the spiritual soul did not introduce any doubt about the illicitness of abortion. It is true that in the Middle Ages, when the opinion was generally held that the spiritual soul was not present until after the first few weeks, a distinction was made in the evaluation of the sin and the gravity of penal sanctions. Excellent authors allowed for this first period more lenient case solutions which they rejected for following periods. But it was never denied at that time that procured abortion, even during the first days, was objectively grave fault. This condemnation was in fact unanimous.
...and Statement 13: "Moreover, it is not up to biological sciences to make a definitive judgment on questions which are properly philosophical and moral such as the moment when a human person is constituted or the legitimacy of abortion. From a moral point of view this is certain: even if a doubt existed concerning whether the fruit of conception is already a human person, it is objectively a grave sin to dare to risk murder. "'The one who will be a man is already one.'"
Endnote 20: Tertullian, "Apologeticum" (IX. 8 PL. 1, 371-372: Corp. Christ. 1, p. 103, 1, 31-36)
...and Endnote 19: " This declaration expressly leaves aside the question of the moment when the spiritual soul is infused. There is not a unanimous tradition on this point and authors are as yet in disagreement. For some it dates from the first instant; for others it could not at least precede nidation. It is not within the competence of science to decide between these views, because the existence of an immortal soul is not a question in its field. It is a philosophical problem from which our moral affirmation remains independent for two reasons: (1) supposing a belated animation, there is still nothing less than a human life, preparing for and calling for a soul in which the nature received from parents is completed, (2) on the other hand, it suffices that this presence of the soul be probable (and one can never prove the contrary) in order that the taking of life involve accepting the risk of killing a man, not only waiting for, but already in possession of his soul."Pope Paul VI, in an audience granted to the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on June 28, 1974, ratified this Declaration on Procured Abortion and has confirmed it and ordered it to be promulgated.